PREP BASEBALL: Vikings use key inning to take down Panthers

TMB’s Rylan Fogelson delivers a pitch during their game against Minneota on Thursday.

MINNEOTA – A seven-run fourth inning proved to be the difference during Minneota’s 8-4 victory over Tracy-Milroy-Balaton.

The Vikings started the bottom of the fourth inning trailing the Panthers, 4-0. They never pushed the panic button. They just continued to battle and put together quality at bats.

“We had some hard hit balls before that inning, they were just hit right at guys,” Minneota coach Keven Larson said. “It seemed like we just got on a roll. That’s baseball. When you see the guy ahead of you get a hit it gives you confidence. The best way to put it is hitting is contagious. We had a similar game like that against MACCRAY. We weren’t doing much offensively and in the final inning we score three runs to take the lead and win the game.”

The Panthers got the scoring started in the first inning off an RBI single from Griffin Radke. TMB’s first inning rally was ended by an inning-ending double play.

In the top of the third inning the Panthers added two more runs off a two-run single from Radke. With runners on the corners the Vikings made a pitching change from Brock Fox to Alex Pohlen.

The Panthers added one more run in the top of the fourth inning off an RBI single from Konnor Zick to put the Panthers up 4-0.

The bottom of the fourth inning is when the Minneota bats warmed up. Brant Buysee drove in Minneota’s first run off an RBI single. The next batter, Thomas Hennen drove in Minneota’s second run to trim TMB’s lead to 4-2. Austin DeVlaeminck came through with an RBI single to make a 4-3 game.

With the bases loaded and one out, Pohlen hit a two-run double to give Minneota a 5-4 lead. Preston Nuy drove in two more runs on a single to make it a 7-4 game.

“We just had that one bad inning,” TMB coach Bill Tauer said. “We didn’t do anything wrong. They just hit them where we weren’t. We just have to learn to work through adversity. They are a good team. There is a reason they are undefeated.”

The Vikings made a pitching change in the top of the fifth inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Nuy faced one batter and set him down on strikes.

“We had a chance there in the fifth inning with the bases loaded,” Tauer said. “We just didn’t come through with the hit.”

Minneota added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth inning off an RBI single from DeVlaeminck.

Nuy set down the Panthers in order in the top of the sixth inning. He closed the door on the Panthers in the seventh inning to secure an 8-4 victory for the Vikings.

“That’s kind of been his role lately,” Larson said. “He’s not the most imposing guy on the mound, but he fires in strikes. With the new pitch count rule we are trying to figure out the best roles for each guy. With that four run lead we put him in and he just throws strikes.”

Despite the loss Tauer said he was pleased with his young team’s effort against one of the best teams in the conference.

“We are a young team and we think we can play with anybody,” Bauer said. “I think this game helped with our confidence.”

With the win the Vikings improved to 6-0. They’ll be back in action in Minneota on Saturday when they take on Wabasso and Edgerton.

The loss drops the Panthers to 2-3. They’ll hit the road today to take on Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg.

Minneota 8, TMB 4

TMB 102 100 0 — 4 9 0

Minneota 000 710 x — 8 11 0

HITTING: TMB (Dolan 1-2; Zick 1-2; Radke 2-4; Fogelson 2-4; Gervais 2-3; Tauer 1-2) Minneota (DeVlaeminck 3-4; Fox 1-3; Pohlen 2-2; Nuy 1-4; Abraham 1-2; Buysse 1-3; T. Hennen 2-3).